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Spud Sims

Spud Sims & the Beltways – Yours Truly

Shed Stomp Records [2023]
Yours Truly /True Love Is Waiting

Spud Sims & the Beltways

Single after single, Spud Sims continues to enchant us with his sweet melodies and talent as a songwriter. His last two titles are no exception to the rule. The delicate Yours Truly is embellished with a twang guitar played by the faithful Scott Cater (who also plays bass) with Paul Ward (Cave Catt Sammy) on drums. True Love Is Waiting is even better (and for what it’s worth, my favourite Spud Sims song so far), with its very marked Buddy Holly feel (who would complain?) reinforced by the drum pattern. I’d love to have an entire album of songs in this genre because two songs are way too short, so we find ourselves listening to them repeatedly.

Available here:

Spud Sims & the Beltways – For Lovers Only

Shed Stomp Records [2023]
Sweet Rockin’ Betty – Lonesome For You – If You Love Me (I Want To Know Tonight) – Always In My Heart

Spud Sims

Spud Sims returns with four brand new songs centred around love, recorded with Scott Cater on bass and rhythm guitar, Brian Duarte (Lil’ Bit & the Customatics ) on lead guitar, and Paul Ward (Cave Catt Sammy) on drums.
Sweet Rockin’ Betty is a mid-tempo rocker with a groove akin to Ricky Nelson’s Believe What You Say. The band delivers a tight tension throughout the song, with the electric guitar bursting into a short yet electrifying solo.
Lonesome For You You is a beautiful ballad and already sounds like a long-lost classic. Spud Sims’ voice is tailor-made for this kind of material, and once again, the band does a perfect job. The success of a ballad of this type lies in the balance between the voice and the instruments. Here, the group perfectly highlights the voice but remains sufficiently in the background so as not to interfere — excellent production work from Jason Chronis.
Back to Rock’n’Roll, with a slight 60s vibe and a twangy guitar with If You Want Me (I Want To Know Tonight). The singer and the band perfectly capture the spirit of the genre without trying to copy anyone or anything.
The set ends with Always In My Heart, another delicate tune with a slight Buddy Holly feel in the drums, but still, once again, 100% Spud Sims & the Beltways. As I already said, I’m more keen on Buddy Holly and Ricky Nelson than frantic Rockabilly. Writing a beautiful melody with simple elements that sounds natural and obvious is, for me, a higher achievement than playing 200 notes per minute for a sterile solo. This is why I am particularly sensitive to the voice and songwriting talent of Spud Sims.
Trust your ears and heart and go to Bandcamp to listen and buy Spud’s latest EP.

Spud Sims & the Beltways

Shed Stomp Records [2021]
Baby Come Back to Me / My Eyes Are Only for You

Spud Sims

Behind Spud Sims and the Beltways hide Micah Sims on vocals and guitar and Scott Cater on guitar, bass, etc.

This young fellow, I believe he was born in 1994, counts among this new generation of singers, like Colton Turner and the Mellows, to whom his voice is close or Marcel Riesco, who favours the melody rather than the wild side of roots music. That’s a good thing! As a fan of Ricky Nelson and Buddy Holly, I’ll be the last to complain!

This single is perfect in its simplicity. The songs are simple yet elegant, and the lyrics have timeless obviousness. “My Eyes Are Only for You” is a love song, but unlike many, this guy makes you feel something. These are not just words. Not only that, but Sims really knows how to play with his voice and his diction, to make one note last and then catch up time. In other words: he sings. 

Behind, the music is sweet with that slight raw edge on the sound to avoid all idea of sentimentality (in the bad meaning of the term).

Two songs are way too short, but that’s also the beauty of the thing. I sincerely hope there will be more from Spud Sims in the future.

Single available here.
Spud Sims on Facebook and Instagram.

Fred ”Virgil” Turgis

Mellows (the)

Mellows (the) – Play… Need You

the mellows play need you

Sleazy Records – SRLP046 [2020]
How Was I To Know – Dawn – That’s How The Story Goes – Yes I Do – Need Lovin’ Baby – Phantom Parade Of Love – I’m In Love With You – Kiss And Make Up – I Know I Don’t Know – Need You – The Cure – Cold Nights

Back in the late fifties and in the early sixties, artists released albums at a frantic pace. Ricky Nelson released five albums between 1957 and 1960, and between 1960 and 1966, Bobby Vee released an average of two albums per year.
It seems that Colton Turner is following this path. The ink of my previous review is not dry yet, and the Mellows just released a brand new record.
Well, what can I say that I haven’t said before? The Mellows are one of my today’s favourite bands. Turner’s songwriting skills never cease to amaze me (all songs are from his pen), and the band’s arrangements are beautiful, subtle and above all, timeless. They keep their two feet firmly in soft and melodic Rock’n’roll in the vein of Ricky Nelson though tunes like Need Lovin’ Baby or The Cure add a slight early 60’s pop music edge. Let’s say the word that will make Rockabilly fans irk, but the Cure wouldn’t be out of place on any of the early Beatles albums. Other songs sound like Sam Cooke sung by Buddy Holly. The set is completed by a superb instrumental.
Superb from start to finish. I’m already waiting for the next one.

Mellows (the) – In L. A.


Sleazy Records ‎– SR – 199 [2020]
In L.A. – You & Me – Who’s Blue – The Drifter

The Mellows return with an ep featuring four original, and needless to say excellent, tracks.
In L.A., recorded by the band, is a superb Ricky Nelson type of song with a twangy vibe.
Thomas Yearsley of the Paladins recorded You & Me. It probably comes from the sessions done a couple of years ago before the band relocated to Austin. It’s a pure ’50s ballad with doo-wop backing vocals.
Side-B features two songs recorded by Billy Horton at Fort Horton. Who’s Blue has an undeniable Buddy Holly feel that suits them very well while the Drifter has an early ’60s country twang with a change of pace.

Mellows (the) – s/t


Self released [2019]
City Lights – A Thousand Kisses – Goodnight Sweetheart See You Tomorrow – Molly Babe -Always – Walkin’ Zombie – Here And Now – It’s Over Now – I Want To Be The One – Shooting Star – B-A-B-Y – All Life’s Mysteries

After two albums under the name of Colton Turner, and with the return of Jack Christy, their former drummer, the band (Colton, his brother Zane on guitar and Yari Bolanos on bass), decided to return to a band name. The future will tell if it’s a smart move commercially speaking. But what matters is the music, and in that aspect, you won’t be disappointed.
Still recorded by the expert hands and ears of Billy Horton it features 12 original songs that have a strong late fifties/early sixties feel, reinforced by Bolanos switching to electric bass.
City Light opens the album in a Buddy Holly mood. Next is A Thousand kisses, a frantic rocker that leans more toward the early 60s and the first recordings of Bobby Fuller. Goodnight Sweetheart See You Tomorrow keeps the Buddy Holly connection, evoking, with its harmonies, the Crickets’ Love You More Than I Can Say. Molly Babe is another ballad that you thought the recipe got lost somewhere between the fifties and now. Always is another superb tune. Very few artists today can deliver such a love song in such a simple and evident manner.
Walkin’ Zombie is a Rockabilly number, which sounds like a Roy Orbison song that would have remained in the vault of Sun Records all these years. Here and Now is a flat out rocker. This one and the next two tunes feature Alberto Telo on drums instead of Christy. With It’s Over Now, Colton Turner demonstrates once again what a subtle singer he is, with a falsetto that would make Tony Williams proud.
Bobby Horton joins the band on vibraphone for I Want to be the One, a pop song (fifties pop, that is!)
Shooting Star is a soft Rockabilly in the style of Ricky Nelson and bears some resemblance to Fats Domino’s I’m Walking. The last two tracks are maybe the best. B-A-B-Y is a beautiful tune that sees the instruments coming into the song one after another. Magic! And the Diddley/Not fade Away beat of All Life’s Mysteries concludes the album in beauty.
Despite their very young age, these guys really know how to craft beautiful songs and the arrangements to enlighten them. The musicianship is top-notch and a special mention to Zane Turner whose guitar solos are always subtle.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis